As a marketer, I read like crazy; books, blogs, articles, posts, tweets, forums, you name it. Everything I read is created content, regardless of the media, platform or delivery channel. I also write all the time, in the name of content creation, innovation and creativity. One of the latest books on my shelf is Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi. The book headline is, How to tell a different story, break through the clutter, and win more customers. Great book by the way, worth the read for sure. However, if the word content is aligned with clutter, and we also can probably assume it's overused (more on that later); maybe it's time for a re-brand.
There is a great deal of buzz surrounding the phrase content creation. Is it possible we have worn it out? Is it overused? Before we grapple with this, let's define these two terms. Content in the marketing world can be portrayed in many ways. Let's think about a company's marketing efforts and how the word content is used day-to-day. Here are some words that come to mind when thinking about content and the usage of it. Content is in the simplest form, the end result of one's work in creating a message for the brand. Examples of content are: telling a story, writing, editing, designing, shooting photos, video, writing a video script, writing a blog, posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, creating audio, music, a voiceover, creating a brochure, event signage for a tradeshow, developing mobile apps or web banners, creating advertising for the online or offline world. Yes, there are a number of ways that content can be produced and we only tapped some of the possibilities. Occasionally content is just a few words, and sometimes content can be a massive amount of words, pictures, sounds, visuals, you name it. Content can be thought of as singular and plural all at the same time, it all depends on how you look at it.
Now let's look at creation. You can't start to create content unless you have some idea of what you want to accomplish. Here's the rub, creative types are typically, well you know, creative, not disciplined and not organized. The odd thing here is, before you create marketing content you must be organized in your approach to get it completed. Could that possibly mean being creative in the content creation sense can in fact mean that you must have a skill that is not inherent with what you are gifted to do? Hmm. That sounds more like content confusion, another story altogether. Let's move on.
In my opinion, the creation part of content creation is the planned thought, or maybe the impulsive action to start developing ideas and putting them in the form or medium you want them to end up in so that you can achieve your desired communication goal.
Does Content Sell or Does Content Sell Something Else?
If I really start thinking about it, I believe in the marketing world we may be commoditizing the term content way too much. Content in it's purest form is a product in itself. Case and point; many journalists are now highly successful entrepreneurs and business owners. Why? Well, there are several reasons. However, one explanation is, they are extremely savvy in their strategic approach, producing compelling content, incorporating social technologies and connecting people and businesses. They always seem to do this at the perfect time for mass-acceptance.
Entrepreneurs Are Creating Content That Sells. They Are Also Creating Content Designed To Sell Something Else
It's pros like Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Charlene Li and Joe Pulizzi, to name a few, that are part of this craze of content, content and more content. What are they doing? They're maximizing the words content and creation, and being savvy entrepreneurs at the same time. They are a few of the many successful journalistic entrepreneurs. Let's get back to the question. Does content sell or does content sell something else? Yes, and Yes. Now that was simple. Any questions?
Because the answer is yes, in my opinion, it's time to change the term content creation to something else. Like most brands and products that try to keep up with the times, the phraseology of content creation must be transformed, or re-branded. Before we take a stab at making a change, I must first ask for an apology. This goes out to whoever created those two words content creation, promoted them and made them commonplace. They are the fabric and DNA of my profession, and largely a part of who I am as a professional. To that, I say thank you. However, I do feel that it's time to suggest a change in the phraseology. Here's my pitch for the replacement words for content creation. Here goes: contory, stortent, contate, contation, storent, systory, infosage, concurity, conteate, storfo, infoject, objectifo, brandmation, brandject and content nation.
Okay, I agree, that was a colossal failure. No, it was a colossal, disastrous failure. I tried to be creative and innovative, and come up with a suitable replacement for arguably the two most commonly used words in marketing departments. I felt like marketers needed a re-brand project to work on. After all, that's one of the things we do best. I guess I should have conducted a brainstorm session first to inject some creativity in my search process. Okay, let's keep content creation just the way it is. So, is it time for a re-brand? The resounding answer is, No. Let's keep it just the way it is.